GoPro help - biking

My nephew is going to be doing the 4K for Cancer this summer (riding his bike from Baltimore to Portland to raise money for the Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults). He is also turning 18 and graduating high school a month before he leaves for the ride.

So I want to get him something for the ride but nothing bike related because I’m clueless and he’s an expert and has what he needs and wants.

So I want to get him a GoPro camera. I also just recently found out that I’m being kept on at my job after my 7 month underpaid temporary position ends and I’ll be getting a huge pay boost right before this all happens. So, I’m not particularly concerned with going cheap either.

So, if you were an 18 year old who loves making videos and making computer graphics, and are about to ride your bike clear across the country, what would you buy to document the experience?

Oh and if there’s another option than GoPro, I’ll all ears.

The GoPro Hero4 Silver would be my choice. It’s got fantastic burst mode for still shots, takes full HD video, and a nice touch screen. If you want to save money you can get a GoPro Hero+LCD, you really aren’t giving up too much. The video is more important than the still shots to me, but it may not be to your nephew.

What about accessories? I have only ever used the basic camera. Is there a way he could press a button to snap a picture while riding his bike, assuming the camera is mounted on his head?

Sure, there’s a remote that allows you control all functions of the camera without having to reach up to the helmet mount. You can also use a handlebar mount or chesty, giving you easier access to the camera buttons. I mainly use mine for mountain biking so it’s hard to manipulate buttons while riding, but much easier on a road bike with a helmet or handlebar mount.

Not easily or efficiently. The camera has to be On already and if you leave the WiFi and the camera on, the battery is going to last for a full day. I think the camera is a fabulous idea as they are incredibly robust and shock proof so that he doesn’t need to be too careful with it. As far as accessories go, I would get him a bunch of SD cards (3/4?) as I don’t know how much downloading or picture taking he will do and a bike mount. The other mounts like for helmets are quite inexpensive and he can do them himself.

Now regarding the camera- The Hero4 Silver is definitely very nice. But honestly, having had the high end and the basic, GoProHero, don’t worry if you don’t get him the best one. The basic model does everything (except WiFi) and we’ve taken probably 5x more pictures because we really aren’t scared of losing it or breaking it so it goes EVERYWHERE with us. But we aren’t doing any fancy editing afterwards so it is more of a point and shoot for making memories for us.

I’ll bet he doesn’t have one of these, and if he’s a serious biker you know he wants one. At an estimated $15-20k, it may be a bit rougher on the budget.

Does your model have and LCD? Mine doesn’t and it’s a pain to guarantee that I got the shot I wanted. I think it’s worth the money to have an LCD, even if it’s subject to breakage. These cameras are pretty tough, I beat the heck out of mine.

I have the Hero4 Silver and buying the more expensive models above that gets you bells and whistles that most of us wouldn’t use. I use a bike mount. I have tried a helmet mount and although you wouldn’t think so, the extra weight adds fatigue if used over long distances like what your nephew will be doing. I would also recommend a few SD cards.

I get a little over 2 hours of recording time on mine. What is your experience?

Yeah, I wouldn’t want it on my head, but on the handlebars.

I ride and ski with a helmet mount all the time, I never notice the weight. I use a few different mounts and the handlebar one is fine but it leads to erratic video when mountain biking. On a road bike it wouldn’t be as much of an issue, and the video would probably be more stable that way. But I think you’ll also want to capture the surroundings, so being able to turn the mount to the side or back to your face during the ride would make for more interesting storytelling. Eight hours of video showing the road in front of you is not going to win any awards.